Blackstone’s Byron Wien called for a 15% gain in the S&P 500 in his predictions for this year.
Now, Wien has pared his expectations, but that doesn’t mean he’s overly worried about stocks.
Or that other people haven’t gotten too worried about the market.
In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Wien reduced his forecast to 10% growth from 15%. Wien said even though a strong dollar and weak oil prices may dent company earnings, there will be outliers that investors can profit from.
And even though there’s reason to be sceptical of the bull market, too many people are afraid of stocks right now:
“At the beginning of the year, most people were looking at $US125 earnings for the S&P 500. They’re looking at $US120 or lower now. So it means that the S&P is going to have a flat earnings performance for 2015, and that’s not the stuff that bull markets are made of. So my view is that the people who are cautious make sense. But I think that too many people are moving to that side of the boat, and I think the market may surprise you favourably.”
He added that although it won’t be a big year for multiple expansion, there’s still money to be made because “the market is not expensive.”
“The market is only selling at about 17 times earnings, it’s not in bubble territory. So I think the market can make 10 per cent progress from the beginning of the year.”
Stocks have had a bumpy start to the year. The S&P 500 fell 3.1% through January, and has returned around 2.2% to investors year-to-date. Still, the index surged to a record high of 2,100 on Tuesday, and on Thursday, the S&P 500 closed at 2,097.